Boss IR-200 Amp and IR Cabinet Pedal REVIEW

Impulse Responses (IRs) usually resided in the studio world of plug-ins, but they quickly moved over to practical live rigs, bringing really great sounding amp and cabinet emulations to a whole new world. Boss has made their IR-200 a dedicated IR unit, and on its own it’s quite impressive, and as part of an existing rig it is amazing.

What the IR-200 does is emulate amp and speaker cabinets — there’s no effects, per se, other than an ambience function. This isn’t a stompbox, so don’t go connecting it to your Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.

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It shares the same size as the other Boss 200 series, with two footswitches, and it’s not that much bigger than some single function stomp boxes. The large display screen is easy to navigate, and there are eight familiar amps available, along with eight cabinets. Each of the cabs has the option of six different microphone types, and two distance options on the mics. Boss designed 144 of the IRs, but it also includes versions from Celestion, as well. There’s also the ability to add in your own IRs, too.

In the stock mode, the footswitches work in a scroll up/scroll down method, going through the presets, however as it’s digital, these footswitches can be assigned for other functions, such as engaging a solo/boost function, or EQ. Connecting an additional footswitch like Boss’s FS-5U, FS-6 or FS-7, and assigning functions to those accessories is also an option. For players who want more in between options, connecting an expression pedal can give the player full foot control.

Right out of the box, it’s shockingly good, even before parameter diving and tweaking. Our tester loves the sound of a Vox paired with a closed-back 4×12 cabinet — and dialing that combination was super easy, plus the result was perfect with the beloved top-end chime and a defined bass response. Bass-wise, it’s the Perfect DI, with classic and modern options, like the SVT running into a 2×15 model, which was big and rich.

As this is a stereo unit, you can pair two separate kinds of cabs, perfect for blending the benefits of open and closed back models, and for additional tweaking there are EQs after the cabinets for really nailing down the perfect sounds.

The methods of incorporating the IR-200 should cover pretty much every kind of player. Simply plug a guitar (or bass) into it, get a sound, and run it into a DAW or mixer with full-range speakers. The headphone connection can provide a simple “on its’ own” setup, as well. Put this on a pedalboard, use it as an amp, and run your time-based effects (reverbs, delays, modulations) in the effects loop.

The IR-200 stands out with great amp and cab sounds, making this a practical way of going ampless while playing nicely with an existing pedalboard. As a dedicated guitar or bass DI unit, it’s an excellent piece of kit for a studio. So, for players who have a couple of “amp in the box” type pedals, why not get all the amps in THIS box, and make your life a heck of a lot easier?

PROS:

Great, amp and cabinet sounds, Celestion IRs, effects loop.

CONS:

None

PRICE:

$399

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